You need drive and ambition to be an entrepreneur, but you also need to make best use of the resources available.
When you’re building your startup or scaling a business during growth, you need all the help you can get. It’s essential to surround yourself with the people you need to grow your business, but what else can you do to prime yourself for business success?
Michelle Duval, Founder & CEO of Fingerprint for Success, has spent close to 20 years working with some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, inventors, and creative artists—here are her top five must-have resources and habits that every entrepreneur should take full advantage of:
1. Find support.
Starting a new venture? You don’t have to be a superhero to pull it off. No matter how self-sufficient you are in business, support will always be necessary—even essential—from time to time. “It isn’t possible to create anything of scale beyond one person without first recognizing and the need and then asking for help,” advises Michelle.
So where should entrepreneurs turn to find such support? Michelle recommends forums such as EO and YPO, where you can tap into global networks of entrepreneurs at various different business stages. In addition, for personalized and specific holistic support, Michelle suggests various mentors and a personal coach to help facilitate your unique talents and greatest contributions to the world, as well as ensure the rest of your life is also growing.
2. Don't be afraid to seek advice.
People rarely make it to the top without help from someone who has climbed a similar mountain. You may find you need guidance with financial modeling, opening new markets and networks, investment, branding, business troubleshooting—any number of hurdles will need to be overcome. Putting in place a strong and experienced board will mean that you can draw on their expertise. It’s important to know that you do not necessarily have to wait till you can pay board members: there are often other ways their value can be reciprocated.
Likewise, finding mentors for specific contexts and areas of business is a good idea. Client experiences have emphasized that one general mentor is no longer sufficient: “Find mentors to guide you in specific contexts and areas—having just one general mentor is a dated approach that doesn’t work as well in today’s business landscape.” To maximize this asset, you will need to learn to ask for help!
3. Remember to take time out.
In a startup context, where there’s constant demand on your time and attention, mindfulness is incredibly important—and easy to forget or pass over. However, Michelle puts a strong emphasis on making the time to take time out: “Even a few minutes of reflection, awareness of your breathing, and stillness can have potent benefits for productivity and creativity.”
There are many ways to practice mindfulness: walking, meditation, running, yoga, and gratitude journaling. Even having an active love and sex life helps: “Oxytocin from connection and intimacy translates into dopamine, which not only makes us feel good but reduces the risk of stress-related illnesses.”
4. Take the money.
They say money can’t buy you happiness, but whoever said that probably wasn’t an entrepreneur trying to start and scale a business. Investment of time and dollars in your business can be key to getting early traction, finding out what works and boosting your confidence, so it’s essential that you’re always prepared to seek funding. In this context, ‘funding’ isn’t just outside investment, it can also come via revenue, debt or equity. “Experienced entrepreneurs and investors will advise you to get funding when you can, not when you have to,” says Michelle.
5. Nurture your relationships.
Among all the work, meetings, late nights and stress, it’s still essential to maintain your close relationships. That means attending to your relationships with your co-founder, your life partner, your family and friends. “Very few people have been able to sustain success without solid partnerships in their life. When all’s said and done, impacting the world can feel meaningless without the richness and truth of shared human experience. Hold your loved ones close!”
No single item on this list will improve your chance at success. But taking a considered approach to entrepreneurship, trying new things and finding time to look after yourself will produce stronger results for your business.
Want to be a better entrepreneur? Find out how you can align your motivations to maximize your chances of venture success today.